Who We Are

ALISON KNIGHT
In 2018 I moved to Somerset, within sight of Glastonbury Tor. I’ve been a legal executive, a professional fundraiser, a childminder and a teacher. At 45, I decided to learn the craft of creative writing. At the time my children still lived at home and I was working full-time, so I studied part-time. In 2012 I graduated with a first-class degree from Bath Spa University and two years later I gained my MA from Oxford Brookes University.

I write contemporary fiction and time-travel adventures, and have three novels published. I also run creative writing workshops and retreats. I’m an Intermediate member of SfEP and enjoy working as a developmental and copy-editor for Betterwrite. I love working with authors and helping them develop their voices. I’ve worked on thrillers, romances, crime and Young Adult fiction. I’m delighted to be part of the Betterwrite team.

 


 

JUDITH PASKIN
My passion for reading and writing began as soon as I could hold a book in my hands! I regularly spent hours in the library, lost in wonderful children’s books such as Alice in Wonderland and pretty much anything by Enid Blyton.
After studying English at university, I went on to become a BBC Radio Producer and was lucky enough to work with some wonderful writers.
I currently work as a freelance editor for a variety of publishers in the UK and teach at the Oxford International Centre for Publishing. My speciality is (still) children’s books. I often mentor new authors – I love to nurture raw talent and see it grow into something special. As a writer myself, I know how challenging it can be to make the transition from ‘a great idea’ to ‘a great novel’. I would be delighted to help you on that journey!

 


 

GWEN SCHWARZ

Living in Toronto, Canada, gave me the opportunity to work as a systems analyst and holistic health practitioner and get my degree in graphic design, before becoming an editor. Those experiences helped me to learn effective collaboration with a client, to be detail-oriented, and to grasp the structure of written communication.

I transitioned into editing by chance. After finding numerous errors in a friend’s professionally edited book, I followed her suggestion of becoming an editor, a decision that led to copy-editing work and to joining SfEP as an Intermediate-level copy-editor.

My supportive husband and two grown children have taught me how to deliver praise while offering suggestions for improvement. What I enjoy most about editing is analysing the big picture as well as checking the details. I’m delighted to be part of the Betterwrite team, and if you’re an aspiring writer I’d love to work with you.


 

JENNY WARREN

My working life has encompassed teaching, outdoor pursuits, housing projects and social care but two years ago I decided to take the plunge and work for myself. I started training right away and was amazed by how much I had to learn about editing – and how much I loved it! I am now an Intermediate member of the SfEP with several proofreading and editing certificates under my belt.

I live in the beautiful North Pennines surrounded by open moorland where I can walk for miles without encountering another soul. I find this the perfect activity for ruminating over a tricky edit or a convoluted plot point!

I work as a freelance editor and as an associate editor with Betterwrite. I edit all kinds of writing, but my big passion is fiction and creative non-fiction. My recent edits have ranged across genres from romance to historical to fantasy. I read voraciously and consider it a huge privilege to work with authors and editors who share the same enthusiasms, so if you’re interested in writing or editing I'd be happy to work with you.


 

HELENA FAIRFAX

I was an author first before becoming an editor. On the road to publication I was fortunate to have a couple of wonderful editors. In the process I learned a lot about what constitutes a good edit, and now I enjoy passing on my experience to other writers.

Besides being a member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders, I also have a diploma in translation from the Institute of Linguists. Translating requires many of the skills necessary in an editor, such as empathy with the author and an ability to find the right phrase.

When not writing or editing, I read – a lot! Although I spend many hours at my desk, I love the outdoors and my garden. I’m also lucky to live near the Yorkshire moors, and I walk there every day with my rescue dog. If you’re a fiction writer, please go to the Betterwrite contact page and hopefully we can work together.

 


 

KATHY SWAILES

Although born in England, I’ve settled for the last fourteen years in New Zealand – a place of beauty and soul. I live by the seaside with my two best friends: my husband and my dog.

In my time, I’ve been a biochemist, marketer, personal fitness trainer and now editor. The various occupations probably reflect my inherent need for change, but in editing I’ve found my niche, as every manuscript opens another door and takes me to amazing places. And I’ve always loved books!

I’m an Intermediate member of SfEP, I do development editing and copy-editing for Betterwrite, and I also post on the website blog. I love chatting, in real life or virtually, so if you’ve got any comments on my Betterwrite blog posts, I’ll be glad to hear them. And if you’ve got a novel to edit, I’d be delighted to work with you!


 

NIKKI BRICE

Hello! I’m a recovering lawyer who turned to editing in 2013, hoping it would reconnect me with the passion that influenced my academic background: literature. And it did!

As a copy-editor, I enjoy scrutinising the detail of an author’s writing, but my real interest lies in developmental editing; this is the stage of editing where the bigger picture is examined and the story is knocked into shape. Working with an author to achieve this is enormously rewarding.

I’m an Intermediate member of the Society for Editors and Proofreaders and I trained with them, and with the Publishing Training Centre, before launching my editorial career. Over the years, I’ve gained experience in a variety of fiction genres and non-fiction subjects, ranging from erotica to self-help books on photography, and everything in between.

Away from my desk, I’m likely to be reading, getting stuck in with my local theatre group, or running Shakespeare workshops at a nearby primary school.


 

RACHEL ROWLANDS

I studied English and Creative Writing at university with the aim of becoming an author. Having graduated I wanted to work in publishing as well, but without moving to London. After hopping between temp jobs, I discovered freelancing and the Society for Editors and Proofreaders. I set up my editing business in 2017 after completing some training and gaining experience with a publisher, and I signed with a literary agent in 2018.

I think being an editor and a writer complement one another perfectly. I love helping authors to develop and polish their work, and I can empathise with their struggles too. I provide developmental feedback as well as copy-editing and proofreading services. I work on a wide range of genre fiction, although I love fantasy, and I’m particularly experienced with fiction for YA and middle-grade readers. I’ve also recently been dipping into non-fiction, having become a Betterwrite Associate Editor.

When I’m not editing, I’m probably reading (I never get bored of it), playing video games, or working on my latest manuscript. Sometimes I try and get outside!
If you’re a writer and you’d like to work with me, head over to the Betterwrite contacts page.


 

JANIE BRAYSHAW

I was a wild child with a large noisy family, a need to be alone, and a voracious appetite for reading. I scraped through university, travelled across the USA, worked for Philip Larkin, then in a second-hand bookshop. I trained as a contemporary dancer and taught for several years.

I abruptly left dance behind me and turned to writing with the support of my husband. I had a part-time day job at a local college where I began proofreading and copy-editing.

My husband became terminally ill and I became his carer. During this time I trained with SfEP as a fiction editor, and I love it! It’s a fabulous balance with my own writing, and I find it it so thrilling to enter into an author’s early drafts, see where the writer’s going wrong, and help them achieve what they wanted to when they first took on the challenge of writing a novel.


 

LEE DICKINSON

I love words, and Betterwrite editing indulges that passion while honing
your book.

A journalism career started me on the route of trying to perfect
writing. After 28 years on national and international newspapers and
magazines, most as a sub-editor, I discovered being a news wordsmith
can't compete with the amazing world of fiction editing.

I'm now an Advanced Professional member of the Society for Editors and
Proofreaders, which has helped me edit books from all genres and propel
authors closer to their publishing dreams.

I'm working on my first novel, The Spiral Switch, and also write a blog.  Away from writing and editing, I'm a sports fan and dog lover who lives in beautiful Aberdeenshire.


 

ROB MATTHEWS

I got a big wake-up call when I failed all my ‘O’ Levels – except English! Taking a positive view, I decided I must be good at my native language, so I studied it at university, taught it in Africa, and wrote a textbook. Then life took a dip and I found myself driving a van, delivering the Birmingham Mail to newsagents.

My wonderfully affirmative wife sparked some ambition in me. At the Mail I moved from Transport to Editorial, then trained with SfEP, started the Betterwrite website, and had a ‘lightbulb moment’: I could copy-edit an indie writer’s novel, but I needed another editor for the development edit.

The Betterwrite ethos of collaboration and co-operation is the antidote to the solitary editor working alone on the kitchen table. We’ve got a diverse, multi-talented team and it’s great to work with colleagues you know and like – and meet them for tea and chat.